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Backpack Buddies program feeds 3,100 hungry school kids a week

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By Gregory Woodsgwoods@sbgtv.com

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- In the season of giving, one company is going above and beyond to make sure Lowcountry kids in need won't go hungry. And it's not just a seasonal offering.

People at the Lowcountry Food Bank estimate that one in four children go without food every day.

"That number is more than the national average which is one in five," said Alicia Duffany, the Child Hunger Program Coordinator at the nonprofit.

It's those alarming statistics that caused the organization to start a program called Backpack Buddies back in 2008.

Every Friday the organization packs three pounds of food in a backpack for 3,100 school kids at 37 different schools from North Charleston to Beaufort.

"In that pack you'll see two entrees, two cereals, two milks, two fruit snack items, and a granola bar," said Duffany. "When you think about the number of meals that we are putting out and how many little bellies we are filling up, it's just really incredible. But there is definitely a need that we aren't currently able to meet, but we are doing the best that we can and we are always looking for ways to expand our program and feed more little bellies."

Feeding more little bellies is exactly what one local moving company is helping the organization to do.

Michael Wishman, a sales consultant for Reads Moving Systems, is helping his company coordinate delivering the food to the children free of charge. Their helping hand is estimated to save the program $15,000 a year.

"Making money is great, but when you see a kid go home and he smiles with his family because he is actually eating food, that to me means more than anything," said Wishman.

Reads Moving Company has been around the Lowcountry since the 50s. They help people move locally, state-to-state or even to another country. Wishman says his company pays their employees to take on the three-day task to deliver the food.

"We have the manpower to do it, it's important we give back to the community. We don't want to just be a business in the community we want to be a part of the community. And what better joy than to help out kids through no fault of their own who may need help putting food on the table," said Wishman.

The Lowcountry Food Bank estimates at the end of the school year, they will have given away 325,000 pounds of food.

To join the fight against childhood hunger, you can donate by ?clicking here? or call the Lowcountry Food Bank at 843-747-8147.

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